Page:Yule Logs.djvu/416

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400
ON A MEXICAN RANCHE

A week later Harry rode in to headquarters, and told the manager that he had better send another man out to take his place, for that he wanted a change for a bit, and intended to go shooting. He drew the hundred pounds remaining after paying their expenses out, and which Tom had deposited in the manager's care, and paying for the horse that he had ridden in, which was the best of those he had used at his work, he rode to the nearest town, some sixty miles away, bought a rifle and a large store of ammunition, some tea, sugar, and flour, and started out again for the plains. Here for six months he hunted game, taking the skins in for sale occasionally to the towns, paying his expenses and enjoying the life. Then he rode down south in search of employment on one of the Mexican ranches, but failing to find anything to suit him, was returning north when he came upon the band engaged in the attack on Don Garcia's carriage.

It was a month before Harry Denham was convalescent. The surgeon had fortunately found and extracted the ball from his hip on the day following his arrival at the hacienda; but he had for several days lain between life and death. Then youth and a constitution hardened by hard exercise, and the life he had been leading, triumphed, and he slowly recovered. Don Garcia had been unremitting in his attention to him; Isabella had visited his sick-room several times each day, and had seen to his comforts. When he began to recover, the father and daughter talked over what should be done for him.

Many times indeed they had discussed how they could best recognise the service that he had done for them. After hearing from him his story they felt that he would strongly resent the offer of any pecuniary payment. But one day when he had been saying that he liked the life he had been leading, and that although without capital it could not be said to be a paying one, it seemed to him that there was a fascination about the constant adventure